Stephen A. Smith has many notable catchphrases as ESPN's biggest personality. None is more famous than his plea for people to "stay off the weed." It's impossible to pinpoint any one moment where that saying became his go-to, but there is a 14-minute compilation on YouTube of all of his weed rants, most of which include the phrase.
Kyle Brandt had the First Take star on his 10 Questions podcast this week, and naturally the question arose of if Smith had ever tried weed. He answered with a definitive "no." He did, however, give a very interesting monologue about why he uses the phrase in the first place and what exactly he means when he says to stay off the weed.
Stephen A. Smith Weed
To summarize, Smith does not take issue with weed used for medicinal purposes, nor does he particularly care if others use it if they can afford it. His issue comes in when he sees people spending money they don't have on weed because of the power it grants the drug and the people who sell it over an individual. It relates back to his upbringing in an impoverished neighborhood, where a lot of his friends growing up sold drugs and ended up dead or in jail.
Smith relayed a particularly powerful story in which he was merely 12-years-old and wanted to start selling in order to make some money. The dealer at the corner of his neighborhood knew Smith and, even more, knew he had the talent and smarts to make it out of the neighborhood. He slapped Smith and told him he'd "whip his ass" if he ever asked to deal again. When Smith was working on his basketball game to earn a college scholarship, all the dealers in the neighborhood agreed to give him 90 minutes a night to put up shots on the court by himself and ensured no one bothered him.
So, no, Stephen A. Smith doesn't care if you smoke weed. He cares if you smoke weed at the cost of having a better life, a life similar to the one he worked hard to earn.